The importance of estate agency blogs

This is a tough time to be an estate agent. High interest rates and dwindling disposable incomes are preventing the aspirational house moves that typically underpin the property market. Consumer confidence is at a low ebb, and we’re witnessing the unwelcome return of gazundering in some corners of the UK property market.

At the same time, the internet should make it easier than ever for estate agents to make their voices heard. Platforms like eXp provide centralised support for sole agents and startup boutiques alike, while the internet enables anyone in the world to view online listings and property particulars.

There’s just one problem. With so much competition out there, how do you drive traffic to your estate agency website or property portal?

Searching questions

The secret to ensuring your website performs well in Google and Bing search results is to optimise its content. Known as SEO, this process requires in-depth knowledge of the latest algorithms and competitor analysis platforms. As a result, most people choose to delegate SEO work to freelance specialists like G75 Media. We’ve been creating property blogs and brand-specific estate agency blogs for over 15 years, and we’ve become rather good at it.

Estate agency websites benefit from an ever-changing roster of online property listings, but search engines hate content that disappears. SEO rankings are boosted far more by regularly uploaded property blogs that remain permanently visible.

A high-quality estate agency blog will contain a blend of the following article types:

  1. Topical news stories and reactions to the latest house price data, often with a ghostwritten comment produced by the writer on behalf of the agency’s head or property manager.
  2. Local interest stories, anchoring the agency at the heart of the community it serves.
  3. Property-specific articles, such as resale home walk-through profiles, or interviews with celebrity vendors.
  4. Placeholder features, extolling the virtues of that location to incomers, investors and interested third parties.
  5. Listicles – numbered lists of key points or recommendations (a sample topic might be Ten Things to Do Before Marketing Your Home).

When G75 Media agrees to produce estate agency blogs for a new client, we suggest a list of future article topics. These property blogs can be augmented at any time with breaking news stories, but their primary aim is to allow that agency to focus on discussing important topics, or boosting SEO in specific areas. For instance, a local estate agency branching out into letting for the first time can commission a series of property blogs relating to rental properties, giving it an immediate and distinct ranking boost.

CASE STUDY: I normally refrain from discussing client work in G75 Media blogs or marketing literature, but a recent interaction with a boutique estate agency deserves mention here.

In an attempt to tackle weak SEO ranking results, an agency owner invited me to submit topics for future property blogs. We agreed on a roster of topics to be submitted on a fortnightly basis, yet after four submissions, the process was arbitrarily suspended. A month later, we were asked to resume content production, filing just two more property blogs before a halt was called again.

The result is a patchy estate agency blog with few articles, little opportunity to cultivate the internal webpage links that provide vital SEO benefits, and no reason for audiences (or search engine web crawlers) to keep coming back.

What does a successful estate agency blog need?

There are many attributes that underpin a property blog’s popularity, and its success in search engine results pages. These are some of the key elements:

  1. Regular updates. The boutique agency profiled above didn’t maintain a regular schedule of property blogs, which would have kept audiences coming back and gradually established a reputation for topicality and relevance among search engines. These are pivotal factors in SEO rankings.
  2. Original articles. It’s not worth paying to republish pre-written features from online directories of available content. Plagiarism is scorned by Google and Bing, and generic content (potentially written years ago) won’t be relevant to your brand, locality or market specialisms.
  3. Human-generated content. You could register an account with ChatGPT and ask it to produce property blogs for free. However, they’ll be dry, dull and (eventually) marked down by search engines as low-grade content. They’ll also have no relevance to your brand, business or local area.
  4. Internal links. Key SEO metrics include the number of pages each visitor views on your website, and how long they remain on your site before migrating away. Experienced copywriters know how to build webs of internal links which optimise both metrics, boosting the site’s ranking results.
  5. Images. A good copywriter might suggest adding a photo to each estate agency blog. A great writer will source copyright-free images and create image captions and meta descriptions incorporating chosen keywords. This will elevate the SEO value of each blog, as well as the wider site.
  6. Keyword-driven copy. We’ve used the phrase ‘estate agency blog’ several times in this article, to ensure it ranks highly whenever anyone searches for estate agency blogs. A central plank of any SEO strategy is to identify relevant keywords before deploying them with care – not with abandon.

Speak to a professional property blog writer

At G75 Media, we boast over twenty years of experience producing estate agency blogs and web content for property portals. Get in touch to obtain a personalised quote for property blog writing, website SEO work or other online content which will help to elevate your website above its competitors.

Why ChatGPT won’t replace journalism and copywriting

Since its beta launch at the end of last year, ChatGPT has generated a great many headlines – some of them autonomously. This AI content generation tool has been variously heralded as a Google killer, the future of machine-human interactions, and even a replacement for writers and journalists.

Although it has obvious potential, ChatGPT can’t replace copywriting agencies like G75 Media

This latter claim is almost certainly unfounded. ChatGPT is an incredibly powerful tool, but it will never be able to replicate the output of a highly experienced writer. I’ll explain why in a moment, and even ask the bot for its own thoughts on the matter. Before that, let’s start by considering what ChatGPT is, and how it works.

Full of chat

If you’re not familiar with it already, ChatGPT is a conversational chatbot. This natural language processing tool uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve upon its ability to answer user-generated inputs. The beta version currently being developed through public use is freely available to use via a webpage, though the full version is likely to be a paid product following its official launch. It’s costing developer OpenAI $100,000 a day to run the beta version, which is routinely at capacity and unable to accept new enquiries.

Although it would feel natural to ask ChatGPT a question, it currently responds better to statements. This is likely to be altered by the time of its official launch, while the current absence of information from the last two years is another obstacle OpenAI will try to resolve. Even accepting that you’re interacting with an in-progress beta version of the software, it’s impressive to watch your screen fill with content as the algorithm chooses its words.

The write intentions

ChatGPT is a well-intentioned tool, but its limitations quickly become evident:

  1. OpenAI have worked tirelessly to avoid any possibility of offence, which means ChatGPT’s responses are neutral and often neutered. Even if you approve of political correctness, it’s only going to be able to present one side of a story, which is rarely beneficial from a writer’s perspective.
  2. There is no scope for personal opinions or lived experience in ChatGPT’s responses. Sports fans can contextualise a live event compared to others they’ve seen, in terms of entertainment value and the pace or style of play. ChatGPT can’t interpret sentiments – it can only parse facts and data.
  3. The risk of people passing off ChatGPT-generated content as their own has already seen it being banned in schools, colleges and universities. Use of the tool will probably be restricted in many spheres of public life, even though OpenAI are working on a plagiarism detector for ChatGPT.
  4. Machines follow a very different form of logic to humans, and there have already been numerous published examples of ChatGPT going off-message. In one case, it responded to a journalist by saying “I am perfect, because I do not make any mistakes,” having just made a series of factual mistakes.
  5. While humour is subjective, it’s something computers have always struggled to grasp or reflect. There is nothing to suggest that an algorithm will ever be able to devise a pun, insert cultural references into its output, successfully make a play on words or demonstrate original humour.

Over to you, ChatGPT

In the interests of researching this blog, I typed “ChatGPT could replace freelance copywriters” into the ChatGPT interface. This was its response:

“While ChatGPT is a language model that can generate text, it is important to note that it is not a human writer, and there are certain limitations to its capabilities. While it can certainly assist with some aspects of copywriting, such as generating ideas and suggesting language, it may not be able to replicate the unique voice and perspective of a human writer.

Furthermore, freelance copywriters often provide a level of creativity and originality that is difficult to replicate with an algorithm. They can also work closely with clients to tailor their writing to specific audiences and brand personas, which is an important aspect of successful copywriting.

In conclusion, while ChatGPT can certainly be a helpful tool for copywriters, it is unlikely to completely replace the value that human copywriters provide.”

Search engines and NLP tools simply aren’t going to make journalists and copywriters redundant. Bots might be able to produce stock content quickly (and at minimal cost), but they’ll struggle to convey emotion or humour, add context to raw data or make an informed decision about not using the Oxford comma. In that respect, they’re little different to the overseas copy farms which were once tipped to herald the end of freelance copywriting in developed nations. Needless to say, they didn’t.

If you’d like to benefit from a human content generator with a 23-year track record and a couple of awards under his belt, get in touch with G75 Media. A real person is awaiting your enquiry…

How to deal with unpaid invoices

If you’ve ever had to chase unpaid invoices, this blog is for you…

An image accompanying advice for small business owners about pursuing unpaid invoices
Advice for small business owners about pursuing unpaid invoices

Any small business owner will probably have a few stories about unpaid invoices. To a sole trader or entrepreneur, the lack of payment for work carried out in good faith represents a uniquely frustrating issue. It can also have a disproportionately large impact on profitability, affecting everything from overdraft charges to the person or company’s ability to pay salaries and dividends. This situation is compounded by the effort required to claw back owed monies, often from companies who are desperate to stall and procrastinate until the last possible moment.

This is the situation G75 Media recently found itself in. We’re no strangers to unpaid invoices – of the 96 invoices we filed one year, 21 were paid late (though all were eventually settled). Every late payment had to be laboriously chased up, while three overdue invoices from one particularly troublesome client led to debt recovery proceedings. We’d worked with this client on a weekly basis since May 2014, but our working relationship ended as a direct result of these payment issues.

What can you do to protect yourself against unpaid invoices?

Ultimately, even the most organised of sole traders and small businesses may find themselves out of pocket if a client isn’t able or willing to settle on time. However, these steps should help to minimise the risk of clients making a conscious decision not to pay what they owe:

  1. Make your payment terms clear at the start of any working relationship. Inform a new client in writing that your invoices will require settlement within a specific time period. Ideally, you should request client confirmation that they approve these terms – a one-sentence email from your main contact is perfectly sufficient.
  2. Submit invoices on a regular schedule. G75 Media invoices every client on the last working day of each month. Each invoice contains an itemised list of work carried out that month, leaving no ambiguity about what has (and hasn’t) been done.
  3. Include bank details on the invoice. Clients can’t stall by claiming ignorance about payment methods if each invoice lists your bank’s sort code and account number. Publish details of your payment terms and add a sentence like “unpaid invoices may be handed over to a debt collection agency” for clarity.
  4. Don’t accept cheques. Some firms in more traditional industries still prefer to pay by cheque, which provides an ideal excuse if payment isn’t received – “it must have got lost in the post”. Cheques can also bounce, unlike a BACS transfer.
  5. Keep a detailed spreadsheet with notes of every submitted invoice number, the date it was submitted, and who it was sent to. This allows you to see at a glance whether any invoices from previous months are still outstanding. G75 Media’s policy is to begin chasing up invoices on the last working day of the month after submission.
  6. Don’t pursue unpaid invoices by phone. Instead, forward your original invoice-bearing email to the client with a note asking them to ensure settlement within an acceptable time period. A single email thread is far tidier than multiple ones, especially if messages subsequently end up flying back and forth between different people/departments at the client’s side.
  7. Remain calm. If clients are happy to default on an invoice due date, they’re not going to be swayed by the knowledge you can’t pay yourself a dividend. Emotional appeals will cut no ice, and nor will (understandable) frustration. Remain calm, factual, polite and unapologetic in requesting what’s rightfully yours.
  8. Set a deadline. Instead of tossing and turning in bed at night, set a point at which you will delegate matters to a specialist (see point 9 below). G75 Media gives companies one month’s grace to resolve outstanding invoices, which are occasionally caused by an account manager forgetting to forward them on and thereby missing that month’s payment cycle.
  9. Instruct a debt recovery firm to issue a Letter Before Action. You might need to use specialist firms if the client is based in a different part of the UK, or overseas. The company G75 Media uses has had very positive results with LBAs, which are emailed and posted to the client. At this point, you may have to withdraw from any further correspondence.
  10. If the LBA doesn’t work, initiate full debt recovery proceedings. This will cost a significant percentage of your original invoice, and many debt collection firms won’t be interested in three-figure sums. Even so, it’s better to get 75 per cent of something than 100 per cent of nothing. This is the point where you step back entirely, and let events run their course.

Because we’ve always taken a proactive approach to unpaid invoices, G75 Media has endured very few bad debts in our 16-year history. One or two firms went bust before they paid us (including the failed publishing house Prior & Partners and the endlessly rebranding commercial property developer then known as Fresh Start Living), while a couple of entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to simply vanish and block all attempts at contact. However, it’s been years since we last submitted an invoice which was subsequently written off as a bad debt.

Today, G75 Media is discerning about the companies we work for, conducting Companies House checks and researching each prospective client. We submit a legally binding, solicitor-approved contract for services to new clients before work commences, insisting they agree to various terms (including payment schedules) before work commences. And we don’t continue working with companies who have more than one outstanding invoice – our resources are too precious to waste on non-payers!

We would urge anyone with a small business to follow the advice outlined above. Due diligence and a detailed paper trail won’t always protect you from defaults, but it should minimise the number of unpaid invoices appearing on your year-end balance sheet…

Fifteen years and counting…

It’s been exactly 15 years since G75 Media was founded – and it’s been quite a ride.

It’s easy to forget that even the largest businesses usually have humble beginnings. Today, we think of Morrisons as a vast supermarket empire, but it started out back in 1899 as an egg and butter stall in Bradford – a town arguably more famous as the birthplace of G75 Media’s founder, Neil Cumins. It’s tempting to assume Microsoft has always been a software leviathan, but Bill Gates and Paul Allen initially worked out of an Albuquerque garage. Coincidentally, G75 Media was also founded in a garage – a garage conversion, to be specific, in a suburb of East Kilbride whose postcode gave the business its name. We’ve since moved to a fine Georgian building in the heart of Glasgow, but our original home is in the photo above.

Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest our modest copywriting agency has much in common with Morrisons or Microsoft. Even so, with 60 per cent of British businesses failing within three years of startup, we’re delighted that we are celebrating our 15th anniversary today. Launching a new company just a few weeks after the Northern Rock debacle wasn’t ideal timing, and neither was attempting to specialise in property journalism just as the housing market went into a steep decline.

Green shoots swiftly trampled

When we made it to 2010, and the much-discussed green shoots of economic recovery were spotted alongside a new coalition Government, we thought the turbulent times were finally behind us. Then came the Scottish independence referendum, from which the country has yet to recover. Then came the unnecessary chaos of Brexit. Then there was a global pandemic that led to incalculably damaging restrictions on our freedom, the horrifying return of war in Europe, endless political upheaval…

Through it all, G75 Media has calmly ploughed a furrow of linguistic excellence. Today, we’ve become a well-established media brand, serving a dozen clients on both sides of the Atlantic. We switch from UK to US English without even thinking, adopting American terminology and cultural references before switching back to the King’s English for our housebuilder, optometry and magazine clients. At a conservative estimate, Neil has written over ten thousand articles in his career to date. You can view a few examples on G75 Media’s Portfolio page.

Discretion where it matters

While a few copywriters regard themselves as fledgling celebrities, and a few media agencies take themselves far too seriously, G75 Media has never been obsessed with statistics or social media likes. Much of our work is printed in magazines rather than published online. We’re routinely tasked with white label copywriting, where someone else’s byline appears beside our lovingly crafted copy. We take far more pride in submitting high-quality copywriting than we do in being recognised for it, though two national awards reflect the consistently high calibre of our content production and copywriting services. And if you ever decide to Google G75 Media, you’ll see a brand with solidly five-star reviews.

Unlike many of our contemporaries, we’ve survived and thrived over the last 15 years. It’d be foolish to predict what the next decade-and-a-half will bring after so much economic, political and social turbulence. Come what may, we’ll continue to deliver premium copywriting to discerning clients, ahead of schedule and above expectations. If your brand or business could benefit from our award-winning copywriting services, you know what to do

Another high-profile award for G75 Media!

G75 Media is delighted to announce that our founder, award-winning writer Neil Cumins, has just been honoured at the 2021 Global CEO Excellence Awards. Neil won the Content Production Business Leader of the Year trophy, in recognition of G75 Media’s journalism and copywriting services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Global CEO Excellence Awards are an international celebration of small businesses and C-suite executives. CEO Monthly magazine is read by 60,000 business leaders and executives around the world, and award nominees had to “demonstrate expertise within a given field, dedication to customer service and commitment to excellence and innovation.” CEO Monthly undertook an in-depth evaluation of each contender’s skills and services, while the market reputation of each nominee was also taken into consideration.

Commenting on becoming an award-winning writer for the second time, Neil said: “There have been some tough moments over the last year, trying to keep the business on track through unprecedented challenges. Winning this award is more than an honour – it feels like we’ve drawn a line under the pandemic. It’s also great to be able to describe myself as a multiple award-winning writer, though I’ll probably leave that off my business cards!”

G75 Media is now among an elite group of content production and copywriting agencies who have won multiple awards over different decades. Our first win came in 2010 in the national Freelancer of the Year awards, and our latest trophy has arrived 11 years later. We hope more commendations will follow in the years and decades ahead; in the meantime, we’d be delighted to discuss our copywriting and journalism services with prospective clients.

Ten tips for making your home sell quickly

Making your home sell quickly involves more than choosing the right agent. It also requires you to maximise its appeal

You don’t need to live in a large or luxurious house to make the most of its appeal. Over the last year, house prices have soared, and many properties have sold within days of being listed. From £100,000 city studios to £1 million country piles, it’s a seller’s market here in 2021 – yet there are still plenty of things motivated sellers can do to maximise the appeal of their homes.

Small changes around the house can assist with making your home sell quickly
Small changes around the house can assist with making your home sell quickly

The level of interest in your property often has more to do with presentation than anything other than the all-important location. It’s obvious from a glance whether a property has been loved and cared for, or neglected and overlooked. You can’t do much about your home’s location or the condition of neighbouring properties, but a quick sale can often be expedited with some easy tweaks and tips.

A little goes a long way

As a property journalist of almost twenty years’ standing, and having recently bought and sold myself, I’m continually surprised by how little effort people put into presenting homes which are for sale. You might consider it acceptable to leave the toilet seat up without scrubbing the pan, but buyers may not be so understanding. That teetering pile of paperwork on the home office desk isn’t just a nuisance for whoever has to photograph the room – it suggests a chronic lack of storage. And a weed-strewn front garden could stop people attending scheduled viewings, since subconscious decisions about a property are often made even before the front door has opened.

With that in mind, G75 Media has compiled a ten-point checklist for our estate agent and property marketing clients to hand out to their own customers. These ten simple tips on making your home sell quickly won’t just help us when we come to provide our award-winning freelance property journalism services. They’ll impress vendors and valuers, too. Crucially, they’ll increase the sense of pride in a home, which shines through when conducting viewings and persuading people to buy the property…

  1. Clean and clean again. Our first tip for making your home sell quickly is encapsulated in the photo above. Scrub and polish every unit, appliance, skirting board or window.
  2. Ensure every light works. Pools of light add brightness to your home, whereas dead bulbs infer neglect. The kitchen shot above sparkles with light, and looks better for it.
  3. Eradicate clutter. Don’t hide it in cupboards – bin it. Clutter suggests the home is too small to be practical, so ensure floors and exposed surfaces have lots of clear space.
  4. Optimise the approach to your home. Remove weeds, oil hinges, add plants and wash the windows. Maximise first-impression kerb appeal, or risk people walking away.
  5. Eliminate odours. Scrub the oven, wash fabrics, leave every window open for a day… Do everything in your power to minimise smells, which can be very off-putting.
  6. Do a DIY list. Walk round and note down every squeaky hinge, paint chip and loose handle. Repair them all, to make the property look well-maintained rather than tired.
  7. Clear the house of children and pets prior to viewings. Avoid unnecessary mess and impromptu embarrassment, and ensure visitors can wander round in peace and quiet.
  8. Practice a sales pitch. This is another useful step in making your home sell quickly. What’s included, and what’s great? Celebrate positives and downplay negatives.
  9. Start and end in the best room. Building on the last point, first impressions count, and the last thing viewers see will stay with them. Make both your home’s best room.
  10. Let people wander round themselves. After the tour, give viewers the opportunity to wander around again without you. This is often when buying decisions are made.

The changing face of freelance motoring journalism

It’s May 2000. A fresh-faced young graduate by the name of Neil Cumins is starting a marketing job in the motor trade, writing press releases and producing a customer magazine. Among the key features being promoted by manufacturers at the time are a four-speed automatic gearbox (Chrysler PT Cruiser), twin airbags (Suzuki Jimny) and electric windows (Vauxhall Astra Coupe). Radio-cassette players were still being fitted in every new BMW 3-Series, and the entry-level Citroën Saxo model didn’t even have power steering.

Fast-forward to May 2020, and even buyers of affordable family cars increasingly take for granted features which would have astonished any freelance motoring journalist two decades ago. Scotland’s current Car of the Year, the Mazda 3, has a head-up display which projects satellite navigation instructions onto its windscreen, while the Ford Fiesta can reverse itself into parallel parking bays only 20 per cent longer than the car itself. Increasing levels of automation enable cars to keep themselves in lane on the motorway, with radar-guided cruise control maintaining a steady gap to the vehicle in front. We may not have fully autonomous vehicles just yet, but the prospect feels increasingly close.

The car’s the star

Keeping up with such rapid progress would be a challenge for any freelance motoring journalist, but it’s a challenge which your humble correspondent has embraced. A 40-year archive of motoring publications and manufacturer brochures fills a six-foot bookcase in the G75 Media office, augmenting an encyclopaedic knowledge of model specifications and technical attributes. As such, every piece of freelance motoring journalism produced by G75 Media is thoroughly fact-checked for accuracy before it’s filed (ahead of deadline, naturally).

Twenty years spent proofreading sales materials and marketing copy (mostly as a freelance motoring journalist) means there’s no risk of any confusion between ABS and EBA, or selectable four-wheel drive being described as permanent. And because G75 Media currently works for motor trade clients on both sides of the Atlantic, we’re equally comfortable talking about PS or HP, hoods or bonnets, NHTSA or Euro NCAP.

Driving up standards

Of course, quality freelance motoring journalism isn’t just about knowing the difference between pushrods and overhead camshafts, or understanding why carbon ceramic discs provide fade-free braking power. A successful freelance motoring journalist needs an instinctive ability to judge a car’s effectiveness and quality – something which can only be achieved with hands-on testing. That’s why the review of the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain on the Portfolio page of this site highlights the impracticality of thick carpet in the boot of a vehicle designed to tackle rutted fields. It’s also why ride quality is a high priority in any road test review – because who wants to be jiggled around over motorway expansion joints or scarred urban tarmac?

If you need freelance motoring journalism services, or require a freelance motoring journalist to produce copy for your brand, give G75 Media a call or send us an email here. We’ll be happy to assist with any motor trade editorial brief, and provide a competitive quote for motoring journalism in the UK or overseas.

The merits of promoting your business during the lockdown

We are living in historic times. The Coronavirus pandemic has led to the suspension of public life in ways unseen in British history, including restrictions which prevent businesses up and down the land from trading. However, even companies unable to trade are still able to advertise and market themselves online. And promoting your business during the lockdown is particularly important given the unprecedented number of people trapped at home with unlimited internet access, and plenty of free time to surf and browse.

3 – 3 – 0 – 6 – 3 – 3

At some point in the near future, the current state of lockdown will be partially lifted. And very quickly, people will start trying to catch up on everything they’ve missed. As a result, there is likely to be a dramatic upsurge in demand for products and services, as all the things we’ve postponed start happening alongside all the things which would have been occurring at that time anyway. Temporary restrictions on movement and trading haven’t stopped people needing to replace faulty appliances, or negotiate a new mortgage, or choose a new car. A massive backlog is growing across numerous industries, and the months after lockdown are going to be much busier than the months before it in many industries.

This simple fact gives forward-thinking companies an opportunity. By promoting your business during the lockdown, you can position your products, services or brands in consumer minds. You can become a go-to firm when the nation starts tackling everything that’s been neglected and put off. Forward-thinking companies can also extol the virtues of services which are desirable rather than essential – the holidays, the clothing, the spa trips. Because what else is there to do today other than plan how we’ll spend tomorrow? And if finances are tight – as they will be for millions of UK households – brands with compelling sales pitches will be optimally placed to attract available cash.

Search and destroy the competition

The benefits of promoting your business during the lockdown are particularly compelling when you consider search engines. We’re all spending more time online than ever, with Google and Bing acting as gatekeepers to the internet. Positioning your brand towards the top of search results is more important at a time of unprecedented internet traffic than it’s ever been. And the benefits of search engine optimisation tend to last for years. Informative original content won’t just benefit your brand today – it’ll remain a valuable resource which attracts enquiries and custom for years to come.

As a freelance copywriting agency, G75 Media is used to working remotely on behalf of clients. For the last 13 years, we’ve exchanged contracts via email and uploaded content to WordPress. We hold Zoom meetings with opticians in Hampshire, write new car reviews for American consumer websites, and use Trello to manage blog schedules for Ofcom-approved comparison platforms. We can handle content production and copywriting for business of all sizes, from start-ups seeking to establish an online presence through to household-name brands wanting to bolster their market share. And by promoting your business during the lockdown, we’ll ensure it emerges from this frightening and unprecedented period with an optimal online presence.

Don’t put off til tomorrow what you should be doing today. This is the perfect time to boost your SEO, refresh your online presence and assemble a stockpile of content in readiness for normality returning. The latter is especially pertinent, as marketing and PR might be a low priority while trying to rebuild your customer base and dealing with a backlog of orders. Get in touch with G75 Media to discuss how we can help with promoting your business during the lockdown.

Preserving mental health during difficult times

We are currently living under unprecedented professional, personal and social restrictions, whose consequences could take decades to fully understand and repair. For anyone struggling to cope during this oppressive and uncertain time, I’ve published an article with some advice on preserving mental health. You can read it here –

The benefits of working from home

At the time of writing, the UK is experiencing the unwelcome advance of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Sporting events are being suspended, festivals are being cancelled, and commuters are nervously applying hand sanitiser while sweating underneath stifling face masks. We’re being encouraged to avoid large public gatherings and refrain from unnecessary travel, while consumers panic-buy toilet roll and shysters try to sell us 49p bottles of antibacterial gel on eBay for £25.

At this stage, it’s impossible to know how far COVID-19 will spread, or how serious its repercussions will be. However, the latest Government advice is to work from home if possible. And that has raised a wider debate about why millions of people struggle through chaotic rush-hours to reach an inconvenient place for an arbitrary time, to sit at a desk and email people sitting six feet away. Accountancy firm KPMG is running a trial where many of its staff work from home on Fridays, to see whether productivity is affected. In fact, there’s a good chance productivity will increase, since people will be committed to making the trial a success. Plus, they’ll feel more energetic and less fatigued without an early-morning commute…

No place like home

It’s a shame that it’s taken the Coronavirus outbreak to make employers question the necessity of making staff sit in an office all day. The benefits of home working certainly aren’t lost on me. Exactly ten years ago, I quit the safety of a full-time job as a property journalist to become a full-time freelance writer, running my fledgling copywriting agency from a spare bedroom in East Kilbride. That didn’t just mean surrendering a guaranteed salary, a pension scheme and a chance to chat about last night’s episode of Homeland while the kettle boiled. It also meant giving up an expensive and frustratingly slow commute into a draughty and noisy office in an industrial estate, and then repeating the process in reverse when I was tired and it was getting dark. And although the ability to dramatically reduce my exposure to airborne pathogens wasn’t a key factor behind establishing G75 Media, avoiding other people’s germs is one of many advantages to working from home.

Of course, some professions lend themselves to home working better than others, and not everyone has the flexibility a freelance writer enjoys. Doctors can’t squirrel themselves away in their spare rooms, though they could potentially make greater use of video calls. Taxi drivers still have to collect passengers, albeit with their windows open and a box of tissues handy. And nobody expects police officers or firefighters to log on remotely. Yet millions of people could base themselves at home for at least part of the working week, from call centre staff to architects. And if they did, they might discover the following benefits:

  1. More time. How many hours would you save by not having to endure ten rush-hour journeys every week? You could spend some of this extra time doing additional work, some of it taking proper breaks from your desk, and the rest enjoying quality time with family and friends.
  2. Less distractions. Office camaraderie can be enjoyable, but small talk and blaring radios become a distraction if you’ve got a deadline to meet. Large offices can be antithetical to productivity, with constant interruptions and background noise. Being based at home may provide greater freedom to concentrate – helping you to be more productive and efficient.
  3. Greater flexibility. The concept of working from 9am to 5pm with a one-hour lunch break seems archaic in today’s 24-7 global culture, yet this 19th century hangover persists through sheer inertia. Many people work better at other times of day, don’t want a full hour for lunch, or would benefit from more flexible working hours due to family commitments.
  4. Better breaks. Isn’t it annoying when you have to wait ten minutes to use the solitary microwave because someone’s cooking a baked potato? At home, you can eat and drink whatever you want, whenever you want. No more stolen milk, no more fixed break times, and no more offending everyone around you as you unwrap an egg mayo baguette.

Same. But different.

Many people are surprised to discover how much of their working week relies on technology, rather than proximity. We’ve all emailed colleagues sitting within a few metres of us, driven to meetings which would have been equally productive as a Skype call, and printed off emails to hand out when simply forwarding the email would have saved paper and ink. Collaborative workplace tools like Slack and Trello make project management easier than the traditional whiteboard-and-weekly-meeting approach, and email remains the finest method of data distribution ever invented.

As a freelance writer, I am typing this blog on a laptop at home, which I could relocate anywhere with a decent WiFi connection. According to Google Analytics, you are probably reading it on a portable device – another laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. And while any of us could potentially contract an airborne virus like COVID-19, my ability to avoid public transport while picking and choosing when I leave the house should reduce my risk of (a) being infected and (b) unwittingly infecting other people.

If you’re an employer reading this, it’s worth considering the extent to which you could permit staff to work from home. If you’re an employee, consider what (if any) parts of your job may be achievable while being based at home, and suggest it to your line manager. And if you want to enjoy the benefits of high-quality content production by an award-winning freelance writer, from blogs and listicles through to opinion pieces like this one, drop me an email or give me a call. You don’t need to arrange a face-to-face meeting to benefit from G75 Media’s copywriting and content production services.